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Patchwork Lap Blanket with Cuddly Fleece Backing

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Here's a romantic story: a pretty patchwork panel meets an old softie fleece panel; they fall in love and become inseparable. That's the true tale of this beautiful lap blanket. The front is a patchwork of Layer Cake squares with coordinating sashing and borders and small cornerstone squares. The back is a cuddly fleece so there's no need for batting. Cute and cuddly – the perfect pair. 

We used pre-cut, 10" x 10" Layer Cake squares for our blanket along with Jelly Roll strips for the sashing and borders, going with yardage for just the binding and cornerstone squares. You could follow our plan or dive into your scrap stash to build your own 10" x 10" squares and 2½" x 10" strips. We'd still recommend buying coordinaitng yardage for the binding and cornerstone squares. For more information, check out our Pre-cuts tutorial for the inside scoop on the most popular pre-cut bundles. 

We loved working with a Layer Cake bundle because we know all the fabrics will blend beautifully, and we know we can easily find matching yardage from the same collection. One of our favorite online retailers for Layer Cakes as well as all kinds of other pre-cuts and full fabric cuts is Fat Quarter Shop. You'll always find the latest and greatest options, and their customer service is the best! They even offer a Layer Cake Club.

Our blanket is bound around the edges and also hand-tied. But, it's not just a traditional tied knot... oh no! There are sixteen 2½" cornerstone squares across the middle of the quilt, and each square is tied through with a little yarn bow, creating the look of sixteen pretty gift boxes. 

Even if you are brand new to quilting, the construction of this project is fast and easy. The instructions below take you through all the steps. And, if you'd like even more information, take a look at our tutorial on Binding Quilts and Throws as well as our Quilting Basics Series.

Having a generous lap blanket to wrap up in keeps you cuddly when temperatures drop. If you're nice and toasty, you can keep the inside thermostat set a bit lower to save energy. Of course, this means you'll need to make a blanket for yourself as well as for the rest of the household so everyone stays nice and warm. It's a great gift idea!

Our Lap Blanket finishes at approximately 55½" x 55½".

Sewing Tools You Need

  • 25 Layer Cake squares - a Layer Cake traditionally has 42 squares, so you'll have 17 leftover (If you choose not to use a Layer Cake, you'll need to cut 25 coordinating 10" x 10" squares)
  • 10 Jelly Rolls strips in a coordinating solid - a Jelly Roll traditionally has 40 WOF (width of fabric) strips, so you'll have 30 leftover (If you choose not to use a Layer Cake, you'll need to cut 40 coordinating 2½" x 10" strips)
  • ¾ yard of 44"+ wide cotton fabric in a coordinating accent print for the binding and cornerstone squares
    NOTE: We used straight, cross grain cuts to make our binding. If you prefer bias binding, get a full yard. For more info, check out our bias binding tutorial
  • 1¾ yards of 58"+ wide super soft fleece for the blanket backing
  • Ball of soft yarn to tie the layers together at each cornerstone square
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • Large safety pins for basting the layers 
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Straight pins
  • Tape measure
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Large-eye yarn needle 
  • Seam sealant; optional to keep the ends of the yarn bows from fraying

Getting Started

  1. Select 25 squares from the layer cake and arrange them in an order pleasing to you. You need five rows of five squares. We recommend alternating both color as well as motif size to get a nice look. Remember, in a Layer Cake you traditional have 42 squares to work with, but you'll only use 25; this allows you extra to work with so you can avoid duplicate fabrics and/or similar colors side by side. There's no "wrong" way to do it; it's all based on what you like best. Our design is shown below.
     
  2. Cut the jelly roll strips into FORTY 10" lengths. If you are not using a jelly roll, cut your coordinating solid fabric into FORTY 2½" x 10" strips.
  3. From the fabric for the binding and cornerstone squares, cut the following:
    SIX 3" x width of fabric (WOF) strips
    SIXTEEN 2½" x 2½" squares
  4. Cut the fleece into a 58" x 58" square.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. The lap blanket patchwork uses a a traditional ¼" seam allowance throughout. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to help maintain a perfectly straight line.

Create the main rows

  1. There are a lot of pieces to keep track of, so work in a specific order, like a grid. We worked from top to bottom and left to right. It helps to lay things out first to cement the order in your brain.
  2. Starting with your first row, pin one 2½" x 10" solid border strip right sides together along one side of each of the first four 10" x 10" squares. You should have FOUR pairs. Remember, we're working left to right.
  3. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch these pairs together.
  4. Place the first two sewn pairs right sides together, aligning the remaining right raw edge of the first solid strip with the remaining raw left edge of the second square. Pin in place. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch together.
  5. Repeat to add the remaining pairs. 
  6. Finally, find the single square remaining for the first row. Place it right sides together with the sewn row, aligning the raw edge of the row's rightmost solid strip with the left edge of the final square. Pin in place. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch the seam. This completes your first row.
  7. Repeat these same steps to build the remaining four rows.

Create the center sashing rows

  1. For those who don't quilt regularly, sashing is the word used for the rows of fabric that aren't part of the quilt block rows. It's just a fancy way of talking about the rows in between the main blocks. The sashing rows in our quilt are made of two fabrics and two shapes: squares and strips.
  2. You need FOUR sashing rows, each made up of five 2½" x 10" strips and four 2½" x 2½" squares.
  3. Begin pinning together the first sashing row. Start with a strip and match one 2½" side of the strip right sides together with the side of one square.
  4. Work from left to right, adding one piece at a time (strip, square, strip, square... ), until you have your full row of five strips and four squares. 
  5. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch each short seam within the first sashing row.
  6. Repeat to make the remaining three sashing rows in the same manner.

Assemble the block rows and sashing rows

  1. Place your main rows and sashing rows in order on your work surface.
  2. Working from the top row down, pin the bottom of the first main row right sides together with the top of the first sashing row. The most important thing to remember is to keep your seams in line with one another. It helps to place pins right in the seams to make sure everything is lined up at each intersection. 
  3. Also, at each intersecting seam, pin the seam allowance away from the solid strip. This will keep all the seams facing the darker fabric and will allow for each seam to go in the opposite direction so they will lie together perfectly. This is what allows you to get perfect points (perfectly intersecting corners) on the front.  
  4. Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew the two rows together. 
  5. Continue in the same manner for the next three main rows and sashing rows.
  6. You should now have four main/sashing rows and one main row with no sashing. Align them in order on your work surface from top to bottom.
  7. Keeping your seams aligned as above, stitch together the rows, using a ¼" seam allowance. 
  8. When all the rows are stitched in place, if necessary, trim any excess from all sides of the top so all the raw edges are flush and square.
  9. Flip over the top and press all the seams, making sure each seam allowance faces away from the light solid strips. 

Layer and tie

  1. Find an area with a lot of available (and clean!) floor space. You need enough room to keep the layers flat.
  2. Lay the 58" x 58" fleece square RIGHT SIDE DOWN on the floor. If you choose, you may use tape on the corners to hold it in place.
  3. Lay the top RIGHT SIDE UP on top of the fleece, centering it in the middle. The fleece will extend beyond the edges of the top. This is okay; you'll trim everything flush before binding. Make sure the top is laying flat and smooth against the fleece.
  4. Place the large safety pins across the top, making sure you pin through both layers. You just need enough pins to keep the layers from shifting. The fleece is pretty "grippy" so you don't need a lot.
  5. Thread the large-eye yarn needle with approximately 10-12" of the soft yarn.
  6. Bring the thread down and the back up through the center of each cornerstone square.
  7. Make sure you are going down and back through BOTH layers; these ties are what help hold the layers together.
  8. Remove the yarn from the needle and tie a tight knot.
  9. Tie a simple bow.
  10. Make a knot in each bow tail to keep the yarn from unraveling.
  11. Trim the excess yarn just below each knot. You can also use a dab of seam sealant to finish the ends. Now your cornerstone square looks like a pretty little gift box.
  12. Repeat to tie a bow in each of the remaining 15 squares.

Binding

  1. Pin the edges of the top to the fleece around all four sides
  2. If possible, attach a Walking or Even Feed foot or engage your machine's built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed Flex™ system.
  3. Machine baste the layers together, keeping your seam allowance ¼ - ⅜" from the edge of the top.
  4. When you are finished basting, trim away the excess fleece so the two layers are square and flush on all four sides.
  5. Find your binding strips. Pin them together end to end (the 2½" ends) to create one long strip. Stitch together and press the seam allowances flat.
  6. Press the entire strip in half, wrong sides together.
  7. Lay the raw edge of the binding along the raw edge of the fleece side of the blanket all the way around. Pin in place.
  8. Stitch in place, using a ½" seam allowance.

    NOTE: If you are new to binding, check out our tutorial: Complete Step-by-Step Tutorial for Binding Quilts & Throws.  
  9. Wrap the binding around to the front and hand stitch or stitch in the ditch to secure. We chose to hand stitch.

Contributors:

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

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